Archive for February, 2014

February 19, 2014

Uganda: Living Water International Helps Thousands to Access Clean Water

Taremwa Charlotte
February 19th 2014

Living Water International, Uganda a faith-based non-profit organization that helps communities in developing countries to acquire safe drinking water has constructed up to 263 boreholes in North Eastern Region Uganda.

The move has helped thousands of households in the region to access safe water.

About a quarter of Uganda’s population lack access to safe water

About a quarter of Uganda’s population lack access to safe water

North Eastern Region Uganda region includes the semi-arid Karamoja sub region where water scarcity has been a big challenge. Most people in this region derive their livelihood from pastoralism since rainfall is not sufficient to support agriculture.

Alex Muhumuza, the Programs Manager at the western region office for Living Water International, Uganda says the problem of water shortage has been a big challenge to the people of Karamoja and their livestock.

“Harvesting rainwater is also a challenge because people there live in grass-thatched houses but now they have at least boreholes which can provide clean water,” notes Muhumuza

A drilling ridge used in the construction of boreholes

A drilling ridge used in the construction of boreholes

The agency has also supported communities in southwestern Uganda to access clean water by constructing two gravity-water flow systems and seven rainwater tanks in Ruhaama county Ntugamo district and Nyabushozi, in Kiruhura district.

“People in these areas dig water dams but when drought comes, the dams dry up so the water reserved in tanks can be used,” elaborates Muhumuza

February 19, 2014

Journalists Gather In Cotonou to Place Spotlight on African Commitments to Water and Sanitation

WaterSan Perspective and
WSSCC – Water Supply & Sanitation, Collaborative Council
February 19, 1014

Less than a year from the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), journalists in Africa are casting a critical eye on the progress in water, sanitation and hygiene improvements being achieved by African governments, and the on-going challenges in this priority sector. This week, some 40 journalists and other stakeholders are gathering in a regional media workshop organized by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) in Cotonou, Benin.

Overview of the room during the opening session

Overview of the room during the opening session

At the global level, rates of open defecation have been substantially reduced, but considerable disparities are still apparent between the different regions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) / United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Programme report of 2013, “Eastern Asia, South-eastern Asia and the Latin America and Caribbean regions have seen a steady decline since the JMP’s earliest measurements describing conditions in 1990.

In Southern Asia, the population practising open defecation peaked around 1995, after which it declined. Only in sub-Saharan Africa is the number of people defecating in the open still increasing.”

In terms of water supply, inequalities also persist. “Of the 2.1 billion people who gained access since 1990, almost two thirds, 1.3 billion lived in urban areas. By the end of 2011, 83% of the population without access to an improved drinking water source lived in rural areas.” Women are usually responsible for supplying their households with safe drinking water, but in some cases the water is not safe. Recent studies have lifted the lid on the difficulties for them, particularly rural women.

These include, but are not limited to: time wasted fetching water or finding a private place to defecate which has economic and social implications, discrimination, and also health risks associated with poor management of menstrual hygiene.

Speaking to participants at the opening ceremony of the regional meeting, Amanda Marlin, WSSCC Programme Manager for Advocacy and Communications, said that the delay in achieving WASH goals posed huge challenges in both rural and urban areas.

“We know that the lack of sanitation and drinking-water supply presents economic and health-related problems for individuals and communities,” Ms. Marlin said. “The disparity between the rural and urban areas in terms of distribution and service provision is a challenge. The MDGs helped us achieve great outcomes but there is still room for improvement. Unfortunately, we are off track for the sanitation target. Reducing and eliminating inequalities is key.”

Mme Amanda MARLIN, WSSCC Programme Manager Communications & Advocacy WSSCC

Mme Amanda MARLIN, WSSCC Programme Manager Communications & Advocacy WSSCC

In a context of global mobilization for the post-2015 development agenda, WSSCC is putting this unfinished business at the heart of the discussions. In partnership with the Ministry of Health of Benin, and the Partenariat pour le Développement Municipal (Partnership for Municipal Development), this regional workshop takes place from 18 to 20 February 2014 at the Azalai Hôtel de la Plage in Cotonou. It has brought together 40 participants including 30 journalists from the West Africa WASH Journalists Network (http://washjournalists.wordpress.com/) present in 13 West African countries.

February 17, 2014

Uganda: Plastic Bottles and Bags for Construction

Akatukunda Basemath
February 17, 2014

An American volunteer has helped to construct a school library in Uganda out of used plastic bottles and Plastic shopping bags popularly known as buvera – all picked from dust bins.

The building, the first of its kind in the country, is found at Mwizi Secondary School in Mbarara district, southwestern Uganda.

 Part of the school library that was constructed using plastic bottles stuffed with plastic bags


Part of the school library that was constructed using plastic bottles stuffed with plastic bags

The low cost technology is helping the region to reuse plastic bottles and bags in a move to avoid plastic menace.

Kimberlaly Koeven, an American Peace Corp volunteers worked with the school leaders to construct the library.

She describes this as an effective solution for reusing the plastic wastes.

Kimberlaly Koeven, in blue, stands next to the school's headmaster as they explain the importance of constructing using plastic bottles and bags to the community members

Kimberlaly Koeven, in blue, stands next to the school’s headmaster as they explain the importance of constructing using plastic bottles and bags to the community members

Polythene bags are non-biodegradable and take between 15 and 1,000 years to breakdown in the environment.

Students and residents living close to this school were shocked. They told our reporter that this initiative will help them clean their environment and at the same time construct buildings cheaply.

“These plastic materials are a time bomb for Uganda because they affect the economy by undermining agricultural productivity through soil degradation,” they lamented.

Speaking during this occasion, Kenneth Tumusiime- the Director Ply Waste, a local NGO noted that this move could increase soil productivity and reduce toxic gases produced as after burning plastic bottles and bags.

 Students of Mwizi Secondary School in Mbarara district stuff plastic bags into the plastic bottles meant to be used in construction of their school's library


Students of Mwizi Secondary School in Mbarara district stuff plastic bags into the plastic bottles meant to be used in construction of their school’s library

Uganda has some of the richest soil in Africa, but in some urban centers and villages it is laced with plastic. Polythene bags when discarded into the soil degrade it, they block waste water drainage systems, they kill farm animals and wild animals that eat it.

In June 2007 the government of Uganda slapped a ban on the importation, use and production of polythene bags of 30 microns and below but this ban has since failed to work.

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